Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cotton or polyester, I need answers.


OK bloggers, I need answers.

I just rang to check if my sewing machine is ready to pick up after taking it back for a second time due to tension problems.

I've just been told my problem is most likely due to the fact I use cotton thread and not polyester.  Apparently cotton thread is "hard" on your machine.  I said I do mainly patchwork and quilting and therefore I use 100% cotton.  The lady at the shop was very quick to tell me I should be using polyester and thats what they recommend in all their classes etc.  

Now I've always thought you use cotton for patchwork and quilting especially since you are using cotton fabrics.  I've never liked polyester anyway, I don't even like wearing it in clothes.

I've experimented with cotton covered polyester and find it awful to work with.  It breaks a lot and its very hard to unpick if you make a mistake.  I don't use anything but Gutterman 100% cotton now.

What's the verdict girls?

28 comments:

  1. I use guterman cotton too..like the way it sews!

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  2. Definitely food for thought, Julie! Hope you get lots of answers to this so we can see what the consensus is. Though I use cotton in the machine, I use polyester for hand sewing and applique as it if finer and stronger. I can see it would produce less fluff in a sewing machine - I used to use polyester for all my garment sewing and let's face it, most bought clothes nowadays are sewn with polyester and look how garments like sports clothes and work clothes have stood the test of serious wear and washing! Must remember to check back!
    Hugs - Lurline♥

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  3. I've never quilted before, as you know, however, I am full og knowledge picked up from seasoned crafters (and a couple of quilting books) on-site at the Craft Weekend I've just returned from. Apparently, you should always use the same thread as the fabric, so you would use cotton thread for cotton fabrics, because tearing can occur as the poyester thread outlasts the cotton fabric and tears along the stitch line... and take a breath.... sorry, got whoozy.

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  4. How can you have a sewing machine that cant use cotton?????
    Im with you, cotton for quilts is for me too. Have used cotton before on that machine???? Is that the easy way out????

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  5. I think the lady has rocks in her head. What sewing machine can't use cotton thread? It might generate more lint than polyester, but machines can be cleaned.

    Does she have stock in polyester thread or something?

    I've heard the same thing as Alby about using polyester thread, but I guess that would depend on what you were making. Not everything will be washed over and over again.

    And I prewash all my fabrics, so I don't think shrinkage would be a factor--unless cotton thread shrinks, and I've never heard that to be a problem.

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  6. I use cotton for piecing, I had heard that ironing pieces that have been stitched with polyester can result in the thread melting and blocks falling apart. I clean and oil my machine after each use.
    I think the lady has rocks in her head too!!

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  7. Cotton all the way....cotton fabric, cotton batting and cotton thread!

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  8. Everything I have read about quilting says use cotton especially if your fabric is cotton, I don't know anyone who quilts with polyester. Cotton feels nicer anyhow. It sounds like a copout from the lady at the shop.
    Pip

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  9. I've never heard anything like it....cotton should be fine. I'd find someone else to service your machine if I were you.

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  10. I think this is a cop out, definitely. I've always used cotton thread for piecing (though I must say I don't use Gutterman as it seems to create more lint, and IMO doesn't feel as smooth as some of the other brands). I have heard that story about only using cotton because polyester thread can act as a little saw on your fabric and split the patchwork at the seams, too, and that has always sounded logical to me, however, here's an article from Superior Threads about this very issue: http://superiorthreads.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-it-ok-to-use-polyester-thread-in.html

    My personal habit is to use cotton thread for piecing, and whatever looks good for machine quilting. Though I don't use a lot of polyester, I love the rayon threads for quilting.

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  11. Cotton all the way for me!
    Andi :-)

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  12. crazy!
    I only use cotton and have used the same machine for years...
    no problems
    never heard of such a thing!
    maybe she only stocks polyester threads

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  13. I have used and will use Rasant, poly core wrapped in cotton for the last 20 years, love it and it hasn't done my machine/machines any harm what so ever.
    It has also stood the times with quilts, piecing or machine quilting.

    cheers
    Christine

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  14. I use both, it depends on what I am sewing. I do find that cotton puts out a lot more fluff though.

    If you like cotton, stick with cotton :)

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  15. Pleased I have checked back - looks like cotton has the hands up!
    Hugs - Lurline♥

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  16. I can't give any advise but looks like other people are with you on the cotton verdict.
    Maybe it's time for a 2nd opinion. Maybe another repairer or shop?

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  17. I've always heard cotton with cotton, and that's what I (mostly) do. I know the cotton gives a little more lint, but it also feels nicer. I agree that you need a new repair lady - sewing machines should be able to sew well regardless of the thread type.

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  18. oh I'm pretty sure in my manual it says to use the cotton for handquilting but for machine quilting you should use the polyester gutterman. I now use the perle cotton for hand quilting and use my quilting cotton thread for smaller projects I do by hand!

    Corrie:)

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  19. Always cotton for me too! I don't think my machine has even met Poly!

    Rita

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  20. A lady I spoke with who runs a sewing machine repair shop told me that the main cause of machine problems is quilters using cotton thread! I have no idea but that's what she told me.Great blog BTW.

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  21. I am 53 years old, and I've been sewing since I was in the 7th grade. And I use cotton most of the time, rayon sometimes on art quilts. I have a Bernina that's about 15 years old. Neither one of us has ever had a problem with thread. So there!

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  22. I have switched over to Superior and Aurifil threads, both very high-quality. You can read about both of them online -- the information we've been carrying around about cotton vs. polyester is based on old technology. My machines have never had a problem with cotton, but it definitely does cause a lot more lint -- and after sewing with black Guttermann, I'll never use it again!

    A trick I learned from a fellow quilter: Get the kind of dental floss that's used for cleaning orthodontics (braces and bridges), which has a little caterpillar-type area; use it to clean between your machine's tension discs. I couldn't believe what junk the Guttermann had left there! But with Superior and Aurifil, nary a speck of lint.

    Good luck!

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  23. Aurifil (cotton) ... love that thread for piecing. I use Superior SoFine and BottomLine (both poly) for quilting. JMO

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  24. i use cotton with cotton (and i use gutterman). I was told to use the same thread with the same fabric, but i do use silk thread for hand applique as it 'hides' really well.
    I clean my machine between services and find the fluff build up lessens with a little quick attention.

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  25. Love this kind of post Julie! Great feedback!

    Personally, I use cotton Gutermann thread for the most part too, plus cotton from Connecting Threads that my friend brings up from the States for me... Yes, it can make a lot of fluff, but I would rather deal with the fluff than the cotton threads in my fabric being "sawed" by using polyester thread...

    Cotton, cotton, cotton! 8-)

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  26. Strangest thing I've ever heard!

    Cotton thread all the way, as polyester thread can tear your cotton fabrics.

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  28. Cotton thread all the way for me. the polyester thread has never been good for fabric especially cotton material. Also there is a question of quality. the thread made in mexico has shredded on my machine, but the ones made in greece, egypt or germany have not. I fix my problems by changing either the thread or the needle. Needles these days aren't the same either. Can't figure it out.

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